Recycled air, cramped seats - how flying can affect your health

Recycled air, cramped seats - how flying can affect your health
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Recycled air, manufactured heat and cramped seats - these are just some of the undesirable conditions travellers have to endure during their flight journeys.

But have you wondered if these conditions might have any effects on your health?

Fox News has listed seven health effects flying can do to our body and ways to minimise such damage.

If you feel thirsty on the plane, it is best to start asking for some water from the flight attendants.

Dehydration is one of the effects caused by the low humidity on the plane. Health site WebMD said it is a condition when our bodies loses more fluids than it is taking in.

Fox News said our bodies are most comfortable around 50 per cent humidity, but in the cabins, the humidity level can be as low as 10 per cent.

The dryness in the atmosphere can not only lead to parched lips, but it also cause headache, constipation, swollen tongue, fainting and more, said WebMD.

The best way to combat dehydration is by drinking water before and during the flight. Avoid drinks such as alcohol, coffee and tea as they have diuretic effect which will make you want to urinate more.

Flying over 9km high into the sky, the earth's atmosphere is much thinner, said Fox News.

As such, it exposes flight passengers to a higher level of radiation than at ground level.

Just how much is that? For example, a flight from New York to Los Angeles can expose a traveller to radiation of around one-third of a chest x-ray.

For frequent travellers or people who fly for work, the long-term exposure to radiation can cause cellular changes in the body, said Fox News.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, radiation exposure can lead to hair loss, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and more.

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

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